January 01, 2006

Catholic church and abuse victims' lawyers talk settlement

The Eagle-Tribune

By Michael Kunzelman
Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Archdiocese has offered to settle another round of sexual abuse claims for less per person than it paid in hundreds of cases two years ago.

The offer was for $5,000 to $200,000 per claim, depending on the severity of the abuse, according to lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the archdiocese.

The Boston Globe, quoting unidentified plaintiffs' lawyers, reported yesterday that the payout would total about $7.5 million for about 100 plaintiffs. That would amount to an average payout of about $75,000 if everyone were paid. The 2003 settlements, $85 million to 554 people, averaged $153,000.

Carmen Durso, who represents 33 plaintiffs, said that as part of the settlement offer, some of the alleged victims those considered to have the weaker of the cases would have to prove to an arbitrator that the abuse took place and some could face cross-examination by church lawyers.

Victims who were awarded settlements in 2003 also went before arbitrators, but they were not subject to cross-examination.

Posted by kshaw at January 1, 2006 07:26 AM